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2023 Mazda CX-50 Evaluation: A Potent Compact SUV

Image Source: O P Z Creative / Shutterstock

The Mazda CX-5 is without a doubt one of the top compact SUVs that you can purchase and now Mazda is aiming to continue that same enchantment with the slightly bigger CX-50. The additional “0” in the title positions the CX-50 above the CX-5, but under the CX-7 in Mazda’s SUV range.

Contrary to the CX-5, the CX-50 is actually not built on the same platform and instead, it receives the more modern platform that is shared with the Mazda 3 and CX-30. In comparison to the CX-5, the CX-50 is 5.7-inches lengthier and 3.0-inches broader. The 2.2-inch reduced roofline offers the CX-50 a sleeker and more athletic silhouette.

The CX-50 is also more suitable for adventures with its increased ground clearance, which stands at 8.3-inches with the S models and 8.6-inches for the Turbo.

The positive news is that the larger size of the CX-50 provides it with more inner room, which has often been a point of criticism for the CX-5. There’s more legroom for passengers in the second row and increased cargo capacity.

Just like the entire Mazda collection, the interior of the CX-50 boasts a high-quality and opulent ambience with its simplistic design. The general visual appeal and feel are akin to what you find in Mazda’s other SUVs.

An 8.8-inch infotainment display is standard, with a larger 10.3-inch display as an option. Similar to other Mazdas, we are not fans of the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The infotainment system is managed using a knob on the central console. If you prefer a touchscreen, you have to utilize Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but only when stationary. If you’d rather rely on the CX-50’s operating system, then you are constrained to the frustrating knob.

Consumers can select between two four-cylinder motors for the CX-50. The base motor is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged version incorporates a twin-scroll turbocharger for 256 hp and 320 lb-ft. with premium fuel or 227 hp and 310 lb-ft. with 87 oct authoritatively rated octane fuel. Both motors are coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard. A hybrid variant is soon to be revealed.

The naturally aspirated edition is estimated at 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined, while the turbo is pegged at 23/29/25 mpg.

On the road, the CX-50 feels more dynamic than the CX-5, thanks to its broader stance and reduced center of gravity. The CX-50 feels more secure on the road with minimal body yaw, making it more enjoyable to drive than many of its rivals. The turbocharged motor delivers plenty of low-end torque for effortless initial acceleration or highway merging.

Furthermore, the CX-50 offers four driving modes: Regular, Sport, as well as Off-Room and Hauling. The Sport mode doesn’t alter the suspension but does add more response to the steering and powertrain. The Off-Road mode is a first-time inclusion, aimed at enhancing the CX-50’s capabilities for off-road excursions, althoughensuring it lacks modes for sand or mud conditions.

For enthusiasts of towing, the S models can tow up to 2,000 pounds, while the turbo version can pull up to 3,500 pounds.

The pricing for the 2023 Mazda CX-50 commences at $28,825, inclusive of delivery.

Despite its nomenclature suggesting the CX-50 is nothing but an iteration of the CX-5, this is not the situation. The CX-50 elevates the brand’s compact crossover with stylish aesthetics, a plush interior, and more dynamic driving traits than customary in this category.


Picture Source: O P Z Creative / Shutterstock

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